Global variability in leaf respiration in relation to climate, plant functional types and leaf traits

Owen K. Atkin, Keith J. Bloomfield, Peter B. Reich, Mark G. Tjoelker, Gregory P. Asner, Damien Bonal, Gerhard Bönisch, Matt G. Bradford, Lucas A. Cernusak, Eric G. Cosio, Danielle Creek, Kristine Y. Crous, Tomas F. Domingues, Jeffrey S. Dukes, John J.G. Egerton, John R. Evans, Graham D. Farquhar, Nikolaos M. Fyllas, Paul P.G. Gauthier, Emanuel GloorTeresa E. Gimeno, Kevin L. Griffin, Rossella Guerrieri, Mary A. Heskel, Chris Huntingford, Françoise Yoko Ishida, Jens Kattge, Hans Lambers, Michael J. Liddell, Jon Lloyd, Christopher H. Lusk, Roberta E. Martin, Ayal P. Maksimov, Trofim C. Maximov, Yadvinder Malhi, Belinda E. Medlyn, Patrick Meir, Lina M. Mercado, Nicholas Mirotchnick, Desmond Ng, Ülo Niinemets, Odhran S. O'Sullivan, Oliver L. Phillips, Lourens Poorter, Pieter Poot, I. Colin Prentice, Norma Salinas, Lucy M. Rowland, Michael G. Ryan, Stephen Sitch, Martijn Slot, Nicholas G. Smith, Matthew H. Turnbull, Mark C. Vanderwel, Fernando Valladares, Erik J. Veneklaas, Lasantha K. Weerasinghe, Christian Wirth, Ian J. Wright, Kirk R. Wythers, Jen Xiang, Shuang Xiang, Joana Zaragoza-Castells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

284 Scopus citations


Summary: Leaf dark respiration (R dark ) is an important yet poorly quantified component of the global carbon cycle. Given this, we analyzed a new global database of R dark and associated leaf traits. Data for 899 species were compiled from 100 sites (from the Arctic to the tropics). Several woody and nonwoody plant functional types (PFTs) were represented. Mixed-effects models were used to disentangle sources of variation in R dark . Area-based R dark at the prevailing average daily growth temperature (T) of each site increased only twofold from the Arctic to the tropics, despite a 20°C increase in growing T (8-28°C). By contrast, R dark at a standard T (25°C, R dark 25 ) was threefold higher in the Arctic than in the tropics, and twofold higher at arid than at mesic sites. Species and PFTs at cold sites exhibited higher R dark 25 at a given photosynthetic capacity (V cmax 25 ) or leaf nitrogen concentration ([N]) than species at warmer sites. R dark 25 values at any given V cmax 25 or [N] were higher in herbs than in woody plants. The results highlight variation in R dark among species and across global gradients in T and aridity. In addition to their ecological significance, the results provide a framework for improving representation of R dark in terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs) and associated land-surface components of Earth system models (ESMs).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)614-636
Number of pages23
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Acclimation
  • Aridity
  • Climate models
  • Leaf nitrogen (N)
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant functional types (PFTs)
  • Respiration
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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